Released during the usually lucrative Thanksgiving weekend, the action-packed 3DCG animated adventure only garnered $28 million globally even after its projected opening was lowered to $30-$40 million.
Apparently, it is possible for Disney to make a box-office flop. According to Deadline, the animation super giant is set to lose more than $140 million on Strange World, which was released over the usually lucrative Thanksgiving weekend. While production and marketing costs exceeded $274 million, the recent holiday weekend only garnered $28 million globally. This is a catastrophic underperformance, especially considering the projected $30-$40 million opening represented lower than usual expectations.
Despite poor ticket sales, the film has a 74% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which has many scratching their heads at the discrepancy. Some are speculating the low attendance was a direct result of having a gay male lead, or the seemingly obvious and forced attempt at inclusion. Others cite a lackluster plot, and even the pandemic. Perhaps streaming the film on Disney+ would have been the safer bet?
Film critic Simon Abrams writes on RogerEbert.com, “[The film features] three generations of insecure men, and a bunch of under-developed female supporting characters whose placeholder personalities range from strong to loving. It’s ‘Avatar’ meets ‘Fantastic Voyage,’ and it also looks really good on a big screen thanks to Disney’s many, many talented animators. With their help, ‘Strange World’ breezes through a checklist of formulaic plot points and canned emotional revelations with enough style and sensitivity to make it work.”
An action-packed 3DCG animated adventure that also sensitively explores father-son relationships, Strange World stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, a brilliant family man who discovers a revolutionary power-generating plant. When he learns that the plant is in trouble, Searcher and his 16-year-old son, Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) set out to find the source of the plant and figure out how to save it. Their journey takes them deep underground to a world nobody knew existed, and, along the way, discover important truths about themselves.
The film is helmed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6, Raya and the Last Dragon) and co-director/writer Qui Nguyen (Raya and the Last Dragon), with Roy Conli (Big Hero 6, Tangled) as producer.
Strange World is in theaters now and will debut on Disney+ late December 2022.